18 Aug A Glimpse into the Simple Life
What do wish you had more of in life? Time to relax and spend with family and friends? Tranquil, quiet space? More nutritious and less expensive food? Less worries and more experiences? Less carbon footprint and more self-sufficiency? Clean air and nature?
A lot of people believe this is in direct conflict with the way they live their lives, though the wish it wasn’t. Busy lives in noisy cities pleases some, but others dream of calm, quiet spaces where they can focus on artistic endeavors or just take it easy. My step-brother, an accountant in Baton Rouge, just made this leap after his beautiful garden district home was broken into. He picked up his family, wife and two teenage daughters, and moved to a 100 yr old, 2 room farmhouse in St Francisville, Louisiana and started an amazing adventure.
My sister-in-law is a creative, craft-lover and she took on the task of DIY remodeling of the house and starting of a small farm including chickens, goats and rabbits.
“We purchased a four – room cabin (not counting the bathroom & laundry) in 2012. It was shy of 900 sq feet (82 sq meters) sitting on a little over 11 acres of land. Four of us lived in that space. There are a few stories floating around about the home – all agree with the beginning, that it was a six-column planter’s home. In the most popular tale, a tree fell on half of the house. Rather than rebuild what was lost, the owners built another home a bit more north on their property, and so he gave the home and some land to their Nanny. Another version places ownership with two sisters: when one married, she took her half of the house with her.”
So it started out small. Really small. Instead of the girls freaking out as we might have expected from teenage ladies, they loved it. They got into “small living” and invested energy in family time and being part of their mom’s crafty genius.
“We took in the side porch last summer (previously it was so run down only the hornets were interested in it as living space), redid the floors in the living room, constructed a pantry and other shelving in the kitchen.” And slowly but surely their tiny home grew into a sweet, cozy home that used every space perfectly.
“We have had chickens since 2012; they were ordered online and delivered in the mail. This permitted us to get the breeds we wanted. The girls provide fresh eggs daily except during the winter months (not enough sunlight). We currently have 16 chickens from five breeds. Beginning with the brown egg layers, we have Golden Laced Wyandottes, Silver Laced Wyandottes, and Black Jersey Giants (also a meat bird); dark chocolate brown egg layers Welsummers; pastel pink, blue, and green Easter eggs layers Ameraucanas. We do not have any roosters as we didn’t want any surprises in our eggs! The ladies spend their days free ranging around the property; occasionally one tries to cross the road (insert your own joke here). Neal wants to add turkeys to our poultry line but I haven’t ordered any yet.”
“Neal also wanted a goat. We purchased our first, a black and white spotted Spanish mix nanny who we named Momma Prudence, from some friends of ours in Mississippi. She had a red Boer mix buckling at her side; we named him Burt. Over the course of time, we had two other nannies and one other male (Ernie); we had a harsh winter, losing the males and the other two females. Last October we purchased another red Boer buckling (a gift for Neal for riding 150 miles on his bike in the MS Tour for Cure ride). As a result, Momma Prudence gave birth to triplet females in April, but only one survived. We currently have two other doelings, another Boer named Clementine (from Virginia) and a dairy goat (Alpine/Nubian mix) from West Virginia named Harley Quinn (the Joker’s girlfriend in Batman).
“We recently harvested several rabbits as well, so most of them are residing in our freezer. We do have one mating pair left, Mr Rabbits and Artemis. These were purchased for Lauren and Madeleine after Easter when we first moved here.”
What I love so much about this story is that it’s exactly what we need to hear right now. The tiny House movement and Sustainable Living movement are two of the most important social movements of our time. Independence through growing and managing your own sources of food, living simply an intelligently, and up cycling through DIY projects – this is the way of the future.